UNESCO should reject the candidacy of former Qatari minister of culture Hamad bin Abdulaziz Al-Kawari for its director- general, Simon Wiesenthal Center’s European Office has said.
Al-Kawari is one of nine candidates under consideration to replace Irina Bokova, who has headed the organization since 2009.
On Friday, Shimon Samuels, international relations director at the Wiesenthal Center, wrote to UNESCO’s Executive Board chairman Michael Worbs, saying that when Al-Kawari was culture minister, Qatar sold texts at the Frankfurt Book fair that “fomented” conspiracy theories against Jews.
“Mr. Chairperson, he who apparently endorses the language of [the Nazi minister of propaganda Joseph] Goebbels must not head the intellectual arm of the United Nations. We expect you to advise the Executive Board accordingly,” said Samuels.
UNESCO resolution on Temple Mount in Jerusalem
He added that Qatar supported UN resolutions on Jerusalem that ignored Jewish ties to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall.
UNESCO’s executive board is expected to interview all the candidates in Paris on April 27 and 28. A secret ballot will be held at its October meeting. Another secret ballot to affirm the nomination will be held at the body’s general conference in November.
Three of the nine under consideration are women: Moushira Khattab of Egypt; Vera El Khoury Lacoeuilh of Lebanon; and Audrey Azoulay of France.
The other five are: Polad Bulbuloglu of Azerbaijan; Pham Suan Shon of Vietnam; Qian Tang of China; Juan Alfonso Fuentes Soria of Guatemala; and Saleh Al-Hasnawi of Iraq.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization was established in large part to focus on preserving cultural heritage sites around the world.
But the Palestinian Authority and the Arab states have pushed anti-Israel resolutions at its board and committee meetings, turning them into diplomatic battle grounds for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In 2011, UNESCO was the first UN body to recognize Palestine as a state.
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